Hyderabad: The rule “practice what you preach” seems to find no place in the “ethics book” of AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu as is evident after he inducted four defectors from other parties into his ministry, which he expanded on Sunday.
Naidu expanded his 20-member Cabinet for the first time in two-and-a-half years mainly to ensure a berth for his son Nara Lokesh for which he has been working diligently all these years. After making sure of his son getting elected as an MLC, he took the next obvious step to induct him in his cabinet on Sunday. He claimed that he was reshuffling his ministry to weed out some deadwood besides giving an opportunity to a few new faces.
As per his well-scripted plan, Naidu dropped five members from his cabinet. He expanded the Cabinet by inducting 11 new members, including five in the place of those dropped. Among those inducted into his new ministry were four members, who had defected from YSR Congress. They are: Sujaya Krishna Ranga Rao, Amarnath Reddy, Adinarayana Reddy and Bhuma Akhila Priya.
Though he dropped two women ministers from his earlier cabinet, he inducted only one woman — Akhila Priya — during the rejig. What is intriguing is that in his 26-member Cabinet, there was not a single Muslim minority.
Naidu claimed that the reshuffle and expansion exercise of his Cabinet was mainly with an objective of getting prepared and winning the elections in 2019, one cannot ignore the fact that his hidden agenda was to elevate his son Nara Lokesh as an heir apparent for his political legacy.
There is no denial of the fact that the TD supremo was trying to emulate his counterpart K. Chandrasekhar Rao in Telangana. Like KCR, who was grooming his son K.T. Rama Rao as his heir- apparent by entrusting him with important portfolios like IT and Municipal Administration, even Naidu seemed to be keen on allotting to his son crucial ministries like IT and Panchayat Raj.
What has come as a big shock was that Naidu, who made a hue and cry over Telangana Chief Minister KCR inducting Talasani Srinivas Yadav, who had defected from Telugu Desam in the TRS Ministry, has himself audaciously inducted four defectors from YSR Congress in his Cabinet.
It is pertinent to recall here how Chandrababu Naidu accused even Governor ESL Narasimhan of administering oath of office to Srinivas Yadav, who had not resigned from the TD and continued to remain a TD member. He even charged the Telangana Assembly Speaker of unethical practices of not disqualifying Srinivas Yadav under the Anti-Defection Law and allowing to be even inducted into the TRS ministry.
What is more, Naidu even tried to move heaven and earth in New Delhi accusing KCR of practicing undemocratic and unconstitutional and unethical practices.
Surprisingly the same Naidu, who talked about ethics in politics, seemed to have conveniently forgotten his own preaching to his political opponents of the neighbouring State and unabashedly inducted as many as four defectors into his ministry ostensibly on the plea that all is fair in love and war. But his actions have definitely not gone well within his own party as many senior TD leaders have started to revolt against him.
Already disgruntlement started brewing in various districts across Andhra Pradesh. Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy, a senior leader, who has been in the TD since inception, hoisted the flag of revolt against Naidu by resigning from the party as well as his MLA post for being unceremoniously dropped from the Cabinet.
Many other senior leaders, including Gorantla Butchaiah Chowdary, party’s general secretary Bonda Umamaheswar Rao and many other leaders at district-level have begun quitting the party. Even the Muslim minorities in the State are upset with the Chief Minister for not inducting a single member of the community in the Cabinet.
They alleged that the CM seemed to be “saffronising” the State under the influence of BJP with which the TD is an alliance partner both at the Centre as well as in the State.
Naidu’s action of inducting the four defectors from the YSR Congress also received flak from his own erstwhile minister and party leader Srinivas Yadav, now a minister in the KCR’s TRS Government. Srinivas Yadav ridiculed and lambasted Naidu of talking about unconstitutional and undemocratic practices and preaching political ethics when he himself had inducted defectors into this ministry.
Naidu has also become a target in this regard from the Congress and even the Left parties. Thus, the Chief Minister seems to have conveniently forgotten what he tried to preach to his political opponents.